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2020-2021 Vendee Globe PD Coverage Central

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  • #61
    Had a feeling that the true test of this cycle was to keep the foil-centric boats unbroken.

    Comment


    • #62
      Convergence In The Pacific

      Last days in the Indian Ocean, Five boats race in sight on each other in regatta mode
      Dalin back in race mode, J2 repairs are top of the Job List





      Having been slowed since around 1800hrs UTC yesterday evening to evaluate and then today to make some kind of repair to his port side foil system of APIVIA, Charlie Dalin has dropped to third and lost over 120 miles to his two nearest rivals Thomas Ruyant and Yannick Bestaven.
      But Dalin, Vendée Globe leader for 23 days up until last night, appears to be back in race mode this afternoon, making over 14kts south eastwards towards the south Pacific Ocean.





      His team have so far only shared scant details about the problem, saying only that the damage is not thought to have been caused by a collision with an object.

      Dalin’s communication said “The port foil remains whole. The damage is to the lower support, where the foil rests as it leaves the boat. Charlie has therefore been focusing on strengthening the foil attachment to make sure the casing remains secure.”




      Meanwhile Ruyant, who himself has no working port foil on LinkedOUT, has taken over the race lead again with a small margin of around 10 miles over Bestaven’s Maître CoQ as the leading group broad reach south eastwards towards the Antarctic Exclusion Zone before gybing to parallel the ice boundary and accelerate into the Pacific Ocean later tomorrow or Thursday.

      Over three hundred miles behind the leading trio, after 36 days and very nearly half of the 24,410 nautical miles course, five IMOCAs are racing within sight of each other in high pressure conditions more akin to the Mediterranean than 47 degrees south, some 1000 miles south of Adelaide, Australia.

      https://youtu.be/XWwJiFF5aiM


      Boris Herrmann, the German skipper of SeaExplorer Yacht Club de Monaco was visited by Louis Burton’s drone, then – predictably – they all started filming each other! There is less than four miles between Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) in fourth Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) in fifth, sixth placed Herrmann, seventh placed Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA-Water Family) and eighth positioned Damien Seguin (Groupe APICIL).

      Herrmann enthused, “It has been such an amazing day, I really had to jump on my pilot to not crash into Damien, we were kind of converging like magnets pulling the boats one to each other. Of course we were observing for a long time but I really didn’t want to touch my pilot because my boat was on the perfect set up for going fast.Now I can see 4 lights around in the total darkness, and this is pretty amazing, 5 boats inside half way around - this has never happened before! I was so close to Damian that I could talk to him boat to boat and look closely inside his cockpit and so on…And then we also chatted on WhatsApp.. it’s really nice - no more loneliness. My dream day! It was warm… part of the day I was working outside without a jacket: I made the stern of the boat my workbench and I was playing with the grinder and the drill and this and that… and gluing the sail back together. A really fun day for a change! With distractions and nice things to do. The boat was going nicely by itself while I was working! Still a bit to overtake them but let’s see how tonight goes. Not sure what happens with Apivia, seems like he has a problem with the foil case… but yeah, the Vendée Globe is always good for surprises! Like Francis Joyon says"Tu est jamais à l abris d une bonne surprise” = " today was really a nice surprise day": warm and quiet. Gentle in any sense.”




      Herrmann’s objective for the day, to work through his job list while the benevolent conditions prevailed, was mirrored elsewhere in the fleet, although some jobs were achieved through sheer necessity rather than because of the conditions. Yannick Bestaven was ecstatic to have climbed his mast and patched his J2 headsail leech to make his workhorse sail serviceable again before the Pacific and therefore render his Maître CoQ back to 100% efficiency again.

      Bestaven said this morning“ It is good for our little group as we never stopped. We're going to get wind as we advance and we we'll get more wind along the ice exclusion zone limit. We're going to continue to build the gap on the group behind; that's the aim. I had seen that the area of light pressure was catching up with us, that's why I used the little gennaker, a bit on the limit, it wasn't comfortable, and I had to be careful. I had to follow so as not to be caught up in the light patch with no wind behind. I did not know about Charlie (Dalin) but I could see he was slowing down. I'm not surprised! They are faster boats; they should have better averages than me. I suspected he had a problem, but I think Thomas (Ruyant) is doing well anyway. My foils aren't very big, but they are strong!”



      Further back in 11th place Maxime Sorel’s J2 repair was less than easy on board V and B Mayenne. He had been working round the clock since yesterday

      "I'm burnt out, I've just spent nine hours non-stop repairing my J2 (one of his headsails). I don't have any hands left! I've repaired four metres of it. I started at 10pm GMT and finished at 7.30am. My only breaks were for gybes along the Ice Exclusion Zone. I did this listening to music and with lots of elbow grease! I slept for an hour and will sleep another hour before I take the sail out. It's very stiff, all 100m2 of it. It takes up the whole boat! Once the sail is out, I’ll have to rig it on the cable. Then I'll have to go back up to the mast to attach it. Given the state of the sea, I'll have to do it now because the conditions won't be so good afterwards.



      Right now it looks like the South Atlantic, it's pretty cool. When I climbed the mast, I couldn't understand the state of the sea: we've been sailing on rough seas for ten days now. As the sea conditions had improved, I had the impression that it was OK. But once I got to the top, it wasn't so good! Now though it's going a lot better, I'm going to take advantage of it. I listened to an evening playlist while tinkering about, I had the Fugees playing, a bit of everything really. I had enough hours to play the playlist several times! I




      TRACKER





      They said: “

      Isabelle Joschke (MACSF): "Mentally, it's going pretty well. I'm settling more and more into my race, I'm feeling better and better. Technically, the last three days have been complicated: I had some problems with my gennaker furling system. I had to do some real acrobatics at the front to hoist and lower the sails. Physically, I get tired quickly when there is a difficult manoeuvre. And I get cold quickly... I need to sleep. I am making the most of the calmer weather to take a long trip around the boat, to check, repair... I'm not bored.

      One important point to note is that I need to allow more time for myself. Really, from the very beginning of the race I have needed this, but it's impossible. Either I have a cascade of problems or the wind calms down and I throw myself on my ‘To Do’ list of repairs. Or there is a lot of wind, so you have to be on it. I have to find a way to give myself some time. I can't find my Kindle, but anyway, I don't know how I could have found the time to read!

      I need to get away from it all and the irony is that I have reduced energy because I have a broken hydro. Which means it’s not possible to distract myself with listening to music or watching videos. And my Kindle, which I normally always have with me, I can’t find anywhere. The other day I did some meditation, which works well for me. It's probably what I should do a little more.

      In this race, there are moments when things are on the up, on the competition side of things it’s going well, and then " badaboum ", there's something wrong and you have to fix it. It's hard to gauge. I have been very lucky to be able to get back into the fleet, that’s what really motivates me and that’s why I am in attacking mode. In the race, it speeds up, it stops, it starts again, it stops again! I have to adapt. It's better compared to the beginning of the race. If something breaks on board, I know that in the rankings I will lose some ground, but I also know that I can come back up again, so it affects me a little less.

      Earlier, I aired the boat's forward sail locker, the fresh sea air did a lot of good to the enclosed and wet air inside. The boat is totally enclosed. Since Kevin (Escoffier) sank, I have closed all the hatches. I felt that my boat needed to breathe, a bit like me! You have to keep the heat inside, so it's very confined. So when I come out, I breathe!”
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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      • #63
        Leaders Pass The 1/2 Way Point

        Leaders into Pacific shortly and passing race midpoint tonight, Bestaven v Ruyant Drag Race in the 50s, Dalin Repairs and Says ‘I am here and I am back and I have them in my sights.




        Yannick Bestaven, skipper of Maître Coq IV took the lead of the Vendée Globe early this morning. And though the 47 year old from La Rochelle who is sailing a 2015 launched boat has threatened the lead before sailing an accomplished, express passage on his first time across the Indian Ocean, ‘Besta’ today becomes the 10th different leader on the 20th lead change on this remarkable Vendée Globe since the start in Les Sables d’Olonne back on Sunday 8th November.




        Bestaven is now jousting with Thomas Ruyant as the pair scythe eastwards leaving the Indian Ocean behind and passing into the Pacific tonight, on a fast port gybe running as close to the Ice Exclusion Zone as they dare in the decidedly chilly ‘Fifties. The leaders will also pass the midpoint of the 24410 nautical miles course this evening.

        Bestaven and Ruyant are 15 nautical miles apart this evening. Earlier in the day they spoke on VHF radio. The LinkedOut skipper noted on the morning call that maybe Bestaven’s older generation VPLP-Verdier design might prove quicker as the 25 kts breeze moves aft to give more VMG downwind conditions. Meantime the Maître Coq skipper has continued to show high average speeds on what will be a long port gybe drag race for the next three days at least.

        One hundred and fifty miles behind them previous leader Charlie Dalin is back in the game after an exceptionally tough and exacting repair made to the foil bearing and housing on the port side of his APIVIA. Dalin told today how he worked steadily through a detailed plan including accurate drawings of the replacement carbon composite part he had to cut and replace into the foil housing, while suspending himself from a halyard.




        Dalin explained, “The hardest part was fitting it. I was going back and forwards between the cockpit and the foil exit location on the hull I was suspended by a halyard to reach the point where I could fit the chock and I don’t know how many times I went back and forth, I don’t know 30 or 40 times to adjust the carbon piece to fit in the foil case. And in the end just before nightfall I managed to fit the piece in and tinker it. It was a big relief as I could see the sun going down. I was saying to myself ‘Charlie you really have to do this, you have to do this before it is dark because after that it is going to be too late. I worked really hard and managed to do it.”

        Wearing a smile of relief he had admitted, “ I have had a few problems. But this one puts the rest in perspective. Before a small problem felt big for me, a big concern, and after this one all my problems before they feel small. I am glad this one is over and I feel I have gained confidence in my ability in fixing the boat and I really hope the repair will hold. I now know what the Vendée Globe is about it is about surviving, managing to carry on with the boat. Boats tend to lose percentages of performance as you go on and the game is to lose fewer percentages than the opposition. So I hope I wont lose any more percent from now.
        Now I have to cross the biggest ocean in the world, the Pacific and in my line of sight is Cape Horn, it seems so far, far away, so many thousands of miles, but believe me I am glad the Indian Ocean is over soon.”




        He concluded “I happy to do this and to still be in the race. I am only 150 nautical miles behind the leaders. It is not unachievable to come back, so I am here and I am back and I have them in my sights.”

        Charlie Dalin (APIVIA) It has been hectic ever since I realised one foil bearing was gone so the foil was not maintained any more at the exit of the hull, the foil cage was full of water and under pressure and a bit a of a leak inside the boat. More importantly the foil was moving a lot and constraining the whole thing against the foil case so I could not go on any longer like this. It was a really difficult moment for me I immediately thought that the race was over for me and that I could do nothing about it and I would end up somewhere in Australia . But I have a wonderful team and they worked really hard, Apollo 13 style, listing everything I had on board, trying to find a solution. They sent me drawings of a new bearing to make. The first thing I thought when I received the list of all that I had to do I felt it was unachievable. There was a mountain of work ahead of me. But I took it step by step and started by withdrawing the bearing and cutting with the jigsaw and doing it. T

        This morning I went and did an inspection of the new bearing, everything is fine the foil is not moving much at all any more. I am confident in my repairs so far. I hope it will hold like this until Les Sables d’Olonne. This morning I really felt confident in my repair. I hope it will work. I happy to do this and to still be in the race. I am only 150 nautical miles behind the leaders. It is not unachievable to come back, so I am there and I am back and I have them in my sights.

        I have had a few problems. But this one puts the rest in perspective. Before a small problem felt big for me, a big concern, and after this one all my problems before they feel small. I am glad this one is over and I feel I have gained confidence in my ability in fixing the boat and I really hope the repair will hold. I now know what the Vendée Globe is about it is about surviving, managing to carry on with the boat. Boats tend to lose percentages of performance as you go on and the game is to lose fewer percentages than the opposition. So I hope I wont lose any more percent from now.
        Now I have to cross the biggest ocean in the world, the Pacific and in my line of sight is Cape Horn, it seems so far, far away, so many thousands of miles, but believe me I am glad the Indian Ocean is over soon.



        Ari Huusela (FIN) STARK: I am so happy. I just woke up from my sleep. The boat is dong fine. It is so great. It could not be better. Yesterday when it was light winds I was able to do some maintenance jobs and I am very happy with that. There were small issues, no big ones, so we have clear skies and no clouds. Nice conditions. We will get some more wind later. I love this. I have seen albatross since the Indian Ocean and right now they are flying behind me. It is such a wonderful sight. Its capability of flying is so beautiful. Yesterday I had two media phone calls from Finland and because of the situation where other sports are not happening there are huge amounts of followers in Finland, lots of publicity.

        It is going well. Almost everybody in Finland knows the Vendée Globe now. Everybody is following it. Everybody is asking about sleeping and eating. Some people ask funny questions like did I see land when I passed the Cape of Good Hope. I have been so lucky with the weather, a few chilly mornings and evenings. I have used my heater three times in the whole race. After the morning when the sun has warmed things up I am in my greenhouse in the sun and I will enjoy my morning coffee outside, watching the Albatross flying. It will be really nice. The only thing is I am running out of cookies. So I will soon have no biscuits. 70 days to go. I feel confident with the boat now. I feel very confident in the manoeuvres, for example when I packed the gennaker on the foredeck today it went so easy, so nicely I wondered how it was so difficult before. Day by day by day it gets better.





        ****************************


        Racing in 25 knots of wind at 53 degrees south, life is distinctly chilly for Thomas Ruyant and Yannick Bestaven, the top two Vendée Globe skippers who are less than ten miles apart. They both gybed early this morning and are heading fully east running parallel to the exclusion barrier, for the Pacific where they are hoping the sea state will be easier and more conducive to higher average speeds than the Indian Ocean has been.


        https://www.vendeeglobe.org/en/tracking-map


        Ruyant and Bestaven now have a gap of over 140 miles over longtime leader Charlie Dalin The skipper of APIVIA was slowed during the early hours of the morning.
        And while the two leaders have made their final gybe east for a few days at least, some 350 miles behind the main peloton have had to make multiple gybes, each one requiring 30-40 minutes of intense physical effort, as the race leader explains,

        “It's quite a manoeuvre. First, you deal with the stacking inside. We've been racing for more than a month so we have less bags, but it already takes a good 15 minutes to move the sails, the safety bags and food and stuff to the other side of the boat . Then I go back to my cockpit and prepare the various sheets and lines and so on to swap the headsail to the other side. I swap the ballast and slowly. In the process, I cleat the runner and lower the keel then I ease the headsail . I try to accelerate on a wave to get the mainsail over and then I get back on the run and off we go!"
        And near the Antarctic Exclusion Zone you need to be accurate and not make mistakes.

        Ruyant continues, “I have just gybed. At last. I have one reef as there is 25kts. It is not easy this Indian Ocean with the crossed, short seas, it is hard to find the right speed but on port gybe it is a bit easier, VMG downwind is not the conditions for the foilers, but it is certainly better than starboard.
        There is nothing too much on the weather right now it is sailing a course east with the majority on port gybe, just a little gybe or two to stay to the south, but that’s it. It is a route fully east at the moment. There are little things to do, little transitions but it is all about going full speed east.

        I have not had much info about Charlie but it is not good for him, but we were a god trio and he is not far behind, he can come back the differences are not so big, I am in front now but the course is very long and I am happy right now to be in the lead on my round the world race but Yannick goes very fast too, especially downwind VMG, he is a good race partner. I spoke on the VHF with him and it was cool to have him on the VHF in the 50s. This is the first time I have been down in the 50s in 2016 I was in the 40s on a more northerly route and had to stop into New Zealand, but it is cold. I I close the door when I am charging the motor and so that helps warm up my feet a bit. Last night I was cold when I was sleeping, and so when I am charging with the engine then I stay in the boat. But this is it in the Southern Ocean.
        I miss a good salad, fresh fruit, vegetables, things like that. But I get my vitamins I eat well and lots. I’d like something fresh, but it is all good. I have food for 80 days so I am not rationing yet!”





        **********************

        Here are the times at Cape Leeuwin.

        Sunday 13 December 2020

        1 - Charlie Dalin, Apivia, at 11:25 am UTC 34d 22h 05min from Les Sables-d'Olonne, 12d 07h 10min from the Cape of Good Hope.

        2 - Thomas Rettant, LinkedOut, at 2:37 p.m UTC 3 h 11 min after the leader, 11 d 20 h 56min from the Cape of Good Hope.

        3 - Yannick Bestaven, Maître CoQ, at 2:46 p.m. UTC 3h 20min after the leader, 11d 01h 58min from the Cape of Good Hope.

        Monday 14 December 2020

        4 - Benjamin Dutreux, OMIA - Water Family, at 00:51 UTC 13h 25min after the leader, 11d 10h 13min from the Cape of Good Hope.

        5 - Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL, at 01:50 UTC 14h 24min after the leader, 11d 14h 18min from the Cape of Good Hope.

        6 - Jean Le Cam, Yes We Cam !, at 02:13 UTC 14h 47min after the leader, 11d 16h 17min from the Cape of Good Hope.

        7- Louis Burton, Bureau Vallée 2, at 4:25 am UTC 16h 59m after the leader, 12d 06h 38min from the Cape of Good Hope.

        8 - Boris Hermann, SeaExplorer - Yacht Club de Monaco, at 08h09 TU : 20h 43min after the leader, 11d 22h 27min from the Cape of Good Hope.

        9 - Isabelle Joschke, MACSF, at 11h09 TU : 23h43 after the leader, 11d 14h 29min from the Cape of Good Hope.

        10 - Giancarlo Pedote, Prsymian Group at 14h37 TU : 1d 03h 11 min after the leader, 11d 21h 03min from the Cape of Good Hope.

        Tuesday 15 December 2020

        11 - Maxime Sorel, V&B - Mayenne at 12h06 TU : 2d 00h 40min après le leader, 12d 04h 43min from the Cape of Good Hope.
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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        • #64
          Linked Out Leaking In The Pointy End



          This evening (French time) Thomas Ruyant, who is lying in second place in the Vendée Globe, has slowed his boat to a near halt after discovering that the front bow compartment of his IMOCA LinkedOut was filling with water.

          Shortly before 2100hrs TU he has engaged both his main pumps to drain this usually watertight compartment. The bulkhead doors are closed and so the main living space on the boat is not affected.
          As soon as the water is fully evacuated Ruyant will make a complete examination of the boat to make a definitive diagnosis of the problem.

          Source: LinkedOut
          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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          • #65
            Champagne Sailing In South Pacific




            Consistent Dalin Closes Fast..... A Different Race to 2012..... 2016 Editions, Herrmann Ready to Challenge Le Cam for Fourth.

            The southern Pacific Ocean between the longitude of Tasmania and New Zealand has proven to be just a little bit too peaceful for the liking of leaders Yannick Bestaven, Charlie Dalin and Thomas Ruyant today as the pacemaking trio have been slowed and so conceded nearly 100 miles to the chasing group of boats which has enjoyed perfect conditions.



            Perhaps the most nervous of all has been Yannick Bestaven who has been leading Dalin and Ruyant for more than two days.

            Stuck for most of today in a zone of calms the skipper of Maître CoQ IV has seen his margin shredded to less than 50 nautical miles by Dalin who has been pushing hard to regain the lead he lost to a technical failure which required him to slow to a crawl and repair for nearly 24 hours. But by late afternoon the wind had filled again for Bestaven who is back to nearly 17kts boatspeed.

            And in third place, Thomas Ruyant appears to have made a risky attempt to get back on terms with the leaders by trying to go north and cross the high pressure ridge’s light winds to hitch himself first to the next low pressure system, a strategy which rival Dalin believes might have offered him rich pickings had his timing been just a little earlier and his speeds faster.

            “It was an option that required a big investment at the outset but which meant losing ground sailing in light winds, to gain big afterwards.” Said Dalin early this morning, “It's not totally dead for him. But you had to sail in light wind to make some gains afterwards. We can’t say yet that it won’t work but think there is a chance now that his timing is screwed up because of his little problem. For me it was do-able, but the percentages of the polars that I had to sail to make it was very high and I had told myself this was not my option. It is a huge gain if it works and big loss if it doesn’t. It's a daring option, if I had been in his place I think I would have done the same.”









            In second, Dalin is nearly 100 miles ahead of Ruyant again.

            The expansion and compression, gains and losses between the leading groups, are very typical of racing in the southern oceans where so much is pre-determined by the timing of the low-pressure systems tracking east and the high pressure zones in between them.

            And this edition of the race is significantly slower than the 2016-17 edition. Four years ago, at this stage eventual leader Armel Le Cléac’h was nearly halfway closer to Cape Horn which he rounded on 23rd December after just 47 days of racing. Vendée Globe meteo supplier Christian Dumard is predicting the leader will pass the famous Cape on the last day of 2020.

            “This is a very different race.” Suggested his associate Sébastien Josse this morning, three times Vendée Globe racer, “Not only have the meteo conditions been very different, slowed in the South Atlantic, a difficult, disorderly Indian Ocean and now light winds for the leaders, but the last two editions have featured pairs of skippers who knew their boats perfectly, who were prepared to push them hard and had the confidence of having a few Vendée Globe under their belts and having confidence in their boats. Right now there has been some damages, because of COVID we lost two Transatlantic Races and so perhaps there is a bit more caution.”

            Prudency, the desire to keep his boat at 100% has been very much part of the patient, long term strategy of Germany’s Boris Herrmann who is on his third racing circumnavigation and his fourth round the world challenge. He is steadily making inroads into the Jean Le Cam’s fourth place, just eight miles behind the French veteran this evening.

            Explaining the differences seen between the Indian and the Pacific, Volvo Ocean Race winner Franck Cammas – who was awarded France’s Sailor of the Decade Award yesterday – explained, “Conditions in the Indian Ocean are dictated by the weather and the wind on the surface. It varies from year to year. One often says that the Indian Ocean can be rougher because you get the tropical storms coming down. There tends to be more violent changes and in particular in how the weather system moves there. The pacific is bigger, calmer, that is maybe why it is called that! If you look the experience people have had, it does vary with some having had quite easy Indian Ocean crossing and then tougher Pacific ones.”

            Meanwhile eighth placed Louis Burton is still expected to pit-stop briefly in the shelter of Macquarie Island which is 260 miles in front of him to make repairs








            Yannick Bestaven is leading the fleet through a transition zone of lighter winds this morning just to the south of Macquarie island as the Pacific lives up to its name. The skipper of Maître Coq has been slowed through the night and this morning is making just 10kts but his margin over second placed Charlie Dalin is a relatively comfortable – for the moment – 100 nautical miles.

            Dalin has been second since last night when Thomas Ruyant erred further to the north and has gas had much less wind but is playing a riskier game, one which - according to Dalin - may yet pay off.

            The skipper of APIVIA, who led this Vendée Globe for 23 days before damage to his foil bearing case explained the route of his rival Ruyant this morning
            "There was a very good option to take. I think Thomas had planned to do this before he had his problem with his sail locker filling up with water. It was a really good option to play but the timing was tight and his problem knocked him off his timing I think. You just couldn’t hang around because the door was closing quickly. I fully understand why he is there. It was an option that required a big investment at the outset but which meant losing ground sailing in light winds, to gain big afterwards. It's not totally dead for him. But you had to sail in light wind to make some gain afterwards. We cant say yet that it won’t work but think there is a chance now that his timing is screwed up because of his little problem. For me it was do-able, but the percentages of the polar that I had to sail to to make it was very high and I had told myself this was not my option. It is a huge gain if it works and big loss. It's a daring option, if I had been in his place I think I would have done the same. This option is paying off in the long run. We will have to wait a little bit to see the result. "

            Dalin continued, “ I have 15 knots and I am going about 15knots and the seas are quite OK, if the Pacific stayed like this it would be perfect. I don’t know if there really is a natural frontier between the Indian and the Pacific but a few hours after the Pacific it was still bad then after that it just became easier. The sky is blue and the good news from the weather files this morning is I should make some little gains, the winds will be light just 12-13kts but when I get through the transition I should have some good winds. “




            TRACKER


            Sébastien Destremeau was reached this morning at daily 5 am radio calls to the skippers. He explains in detail the autopilot and steering system
            "Since 5 pm yesterday, I have been sailing with the autopilot, with a steering system; it is not yet reliable, but it's sailing, and it works. I managed to replace the steering and pilot system. I am sailing slowly for the moment, but I'm happy to have been able to get the boat back on course and to no longer be just drifting and losing ground.

            I don't have a welding tool to repair the metal part, I couldn't drill the steel. The Vendée Globe is a race where when you don't know, you invent. I took everything off, cleaned everything, removed the tiller, and concentrated on connecting the two rudders together, but above all I had to put the rudder angle sensor on. Otherwise, you can't have a drive. We had to find a strange assembly. The sensor was originally on the part that broke. That was the priority of priorities.




            Then I put the spare pilot back on. The other two pilots had had it. I had a third one that I installed but I made a mistake with the connection. I connected a wire badly that then, burnt out an electronic card. I had to change the engine drive. But this motor is 24 volts, and on the boat, I only have 12 volts. I had to reconfigure the electronics. It was a real battle!

            I was helped by my brothers but especially by Julien Berthelot of BJ Nautique in Les Sables d'Olonne. Without him, I would never have made it. It was quite a drama, but we made it! I went to bed afterwards... I don't know the system will hold, it still needs to be tested, because it is held together with bits of string... The plan is to head slowly on the course to Australia.

            You imagine crossing the desert in a car far from everything and at some point, it gets really bumpy and your steering system breaks. So, you have to make do with what you have. You reinvent. That's the image I have. So, succeeding is a victory... "





            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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            • #66
              Bestaven Extends Lead, Boris Now In 4th, Charal Moves Up

              Breeze favours the leader.....Burton repairing at Macquarie....Hare Punching Hard....Autissier On French Live


              TRACKING


              Yannick Bestaven, who has been at the front of the fleet for four days, passed the Antimeridian at 1337hrs UTC this Sunday afternoon with his lead now extended to 120 nautical miles over second placed Charlie Dalin.

              Of the mental milestones that the Vendée Globe skippers tick off along the 24,410 nautical miles solo race round the world, the Antimeridian – or 180th Meridian – is a significant boost to morale.
              It is there that they see their longitude start to drop from 180 and emotionally each degree feels closer to home and to the Les Sables d’Olonne finish line at 1.799 W.

              Bestaven has had the advantage of staying in the better breeze than Dalin and third placed Thomas Ruyant but this looks set to be a complicated week ahead for the leaders as a high pressure will block their path midweek which could require something of a detour north to find better wind and in fact they might find themselves sailing upwind for a period just before Christmas.

              The second part of this ninth edition of the Vendée Globe looks set to offer even more tension and excitement with the prospect of the top 11 skippers being within 800 nautical miles of each other at Cape Horn around the 31st December or the first day of 2021.

              Consider that the last two editions have seen either a the leader or pair of leaders more than that distance ahead of the third placed boat and the climb up the Atlantic in January promises to be a sporting spectacular.

              And on his new scow bowed Manuard design Armel Tripon, presently 14th on the standings is on the hunt, seemingly always in a beneficial wind regime which is allowing him to consistently pull back miles on those immediately in front of him, “It's a different phase (for the leaders) now until Cape Horn, the cards can still be redistributed but of course there will be opportunities until the end. "




              Burton At Macquarie
              After arriving in the lee of the remote mist shrouded Macquarie Island, 840 miles south east of Tasmania, this morning (European time) Louis Burton climbed the 28 metre mast of Bureau Vallée 2 as it drifted gently offshore. He went up at 1118hrs UTC and returned to the deck after two very hard, chilly hours during which he accomplished a partial repair to the mast track damage which had been preventing him from using his mainsail to its full hoist since early in the Indian Ocean. He reported to his team that as he drifted offshore the seas had become too rough to continue his work to finish the repair and deal with the electronics problem he had there too. And so the skipper from Saint Malo was considering anchoring in Lusitania Bay which is much more protected but always involves more risk anchoring and retrieving an anchor unassisted.


              With less than 100 miles to go the young Swiss skipper Alan Roura will be the next to pass Cape Leeuwin in 15th place. Britain’s Pip Hare is having a fantastic race right now, profiting in the stronger winds on her first time ever in the Southern Ocean. She has closed miles on Les Sables d’Olonne’s Arnaud Boissières who is on a newer boat and is on his fourth consecutive Vendée Globe and she has also moved more than 60 miles clear of Didac Costa who is on his second consecutive Vendée Globe and third round the world race in five years – as is Jean Le Cam who has been a mentor to the Catalan skipper as he has also to Damien Seguin and Benjamin Dutreux. While Hare may be a newcomer to the south her Medallia a 20 year old Pierre Rolland design knows its own way as this is its fifth racing circumnavigation, the last time in the hands of Roura who is only 453 nautical miles ahead.





              STANDINGS



              Isabelle Autissier, the first woman to complete a solo round the world race, was the guest on the French Live show today, Isabelle Autissier, on the French LIVE.

              The legendary pioneer has sailed around the world four times, including once in the Vendée Globe, in the terrifying 1996-1997 race, when out of the fifteen boats that set off, only six finished the race. That was the race which saw Gerry Roufs lost at sea. Autissier spent a long time looking for him in hellish seas in the Pacific. Out of the official race after a pit stop in Cape Town to repair a damaged rudder, she went back to complete the course – as Sam Davies is inspired to do now – arriving ‘hors cours’ back in Les Sables d’Olonne after 105 days with a lot of memories. « I knew I would only do that race once. The Vendée Globe is something that has to be earned. »

              Today Autissier remarked, “ This is a pretty incredible race. I do not recall having ever seen one likes this, and I have followed them all, with so many different battles going on and such a big bunch together in the lead. The speeds are just amazing. I did the Vendée Globe a long time ago now and then I thought we were going fast, but today it is just incredible, there is no comparison. I am happy to see that there have not been too many breakages, some of course, but I see that the sailors are all very capable and able to fix things, which is pretty impressive because it shows the boats are strong and safe.”

              A staunch advocate for ocean health, she commented, “ In my role as president of WWF France, we work hard to protect the remote areas the fleet goes through like the Kergeulen Islands. Earth is the only planet with an Ocean, and it is the ocean that gives life to Earth. We depend on the Ocean for the health of our planet and we must protect her. It is of the utmost importance to us; it provides 50% our oxygen through the plankton and it regulates the temperature of our planet. If ultimately, we do not respect it, it will be us who suffer in the long term. We need to look at it from the climate change perspective, the fishing, plastic pollution and there is just a lot to do.”

              Talking of Davies she said, “ I did send a message to Sam when she was in Cape Town saying that it was a real opportunity to complete her journey and that she would enjoy doing the full trip, like I did when it happened to me. For me it was a real pleasure to be able to finish it, and I did not have the pressure to race, which at the time was quite tough as I was among the favourites in third place when it happened, but after I set off again full pelt and complete at one with the boat and the sea. I got the welcome in the Sables d’Olonne, when I finished 24 hours after the first, as if I were second overall. I am watching Sam and she will finish her race around the world.”








              They said
              Alexia Barrier, TSE for my planet: “My boat is the oldest in the fleet at 22 years, but it is also the most experienced having been here before. I have the birds flying around and it is just beautiful and huge. The wind and the waves and the strength of the elements. I dropped a special ARGO buoy on behalf of a programme that is led by UNESCO. This will give data on the ocean in this remote area. The information will then be made available to researchers the world over to study our oceans. It is lovely to have so many birds play with the breeze, and particularly with the turbulence of the rig. We are visitors in this great Southern Ocean and the only animal I have seen right down in the 40s was a seal. I was so touched to see a living animal after 30 days of not seeing anything. We must all do all we can to protect this ocean.”

              Stephane la Diraison, Time for Oceans: “I am so happy to finally be sailing in the southern seas. It is not quite what I had expected, and I worked really hard to reach a competitive group of sailors and so we have proper racing. The boats are technical and need a lot of managing. Above all we must remember that the Vendée Globe is a massive human challenge and that to be here all alone on our boats on the other side of the world is just nuts. Last night I got another leak in my foil case and so filled my “soute a voile” and had to stop, furl up the gennaker, empty the “soute” and re-stick a board, let it dry… well just everything. It is a Vendée Globe full of action, technical repairs and with a toolbox permanently on hand and open! It is a human challenge and so I fallen behind with a different group and we have very complicated weather systems. Frankly we have not been spared back here. It is pretty mad what we have had in the Southern Atlantic and then near the Kerguelen, where it was warm, and we could shower in the cockpit. In a few days’ time, we will get to the point where I dismasted four years ago, so I am really happy to get past this and have the chance to experience the second half of the race and get into the Pacific and start getting closer to the Sables d’Olonne as opposed to further away.”
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              • #67
                Solstice And The Sticky Southern Seas



                Bestaven Might Forge An Escape, Dalin, Ruyant Choose their Options, New Low Threatens Burton, Attanasio, Cremer. Destremau Heading Towards Decision Time

                The Vendée Globe seems set to deliver a South Pacific Ocean cliffhanger worthy of Christmas Holiday week fireside viewing as the front running group try to negotiate a large, tricky high pressure system which is blocking their route east.





                If the plot line were written only by leader Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoqIV) he would be allowed to escape from the evil clutches of the anticyclone and to ride off to a much more substantial distance on the two groups that are chasing him, Charlie Dalin (APIVIA) at 129 miles behind and Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) chasing at 165.1 mile.

                Behind them Boris Herrmann in fourth is three to four knots quicker at 373 miles behind Bestaven, at the head of the second wave stretching 530 miles back from Herrmann to Maxime Sorel in 10th.

                So complex is the modelling, tracking and timing of the sticky system which is moving south east across their path that Ruyant today admitted he is half prepared to bide his time and watch Bestaven open the course.


                But weather ace Christian Dumard, meteo adviser to the race, says there is a slender chance the skipper of Maître Coq might be able to extend his break, sailing close to the ice exclusion, while his chasers are forced north-eastwards to find a different, more roundabout route to hook into the next low pressure system.

                "It is not clear if I manage to escape. It is hard to say. Rationally I am the first into the real high pressure areas and then should also be the first to get out, normally!” Explained Bestaven earlier today.

                Ruyant responds, “We still have some pressure for a little while but further we go in a straight line the lighter it will be. So I hope Yannick doesn’t escape.”







                "The weather files are only seemingly reliable for two or three days with any real degree of confidence," explains the skipper of LinkedOut. “So the forecasts are not very reliable looking forwards towards Cape Horn. We don't know that much and so I am going to stay a bit conservative. I'm lucky to be a hunter, in this not very precise weather, not the hunted – not having to lead the way. I can benchmark myself against others, and I watch hour by hour day by day. "

                The one thing which does seem sure about this whole scenario is that the anticyclone is crossing their path, cutting off their supplies of breeze. And all the time they are slowed to positively pedestrian paces scuppering the dream sequence of the latest high tech foilers scything east on long Pacific surfs.









                Between two low-pressure systems
                A new low pressure is very much on the minds of three competitors. The red stripe on their weather files that comes down from New Zealand is a fairly deep low-pressure system generating gusts in excess of 40 knots. Romain Attanasio and Clarisse Cremer now joined by Louis Burton, after he lost 400 miles with his pit stop off Macquairie Island (he climbed his mast three times to carry out repairs), are going to have to weather the storm between Wednesday and Thursday with strong NE’ly winds forecast forcing them to sail upwind in very nasty seas. “We have to avoid going too quickly as we would end up in the worst of the low,” explained Romain Attanasio in a video he sent back. “It does not matter if it catches me coming from behind me, but I am going to slow down. It’s not very logical and I find it hard to do that,” explained Clarisse Cremer the day before yesterday. As for Louis Burton, his problem is the reverse. He needs to accelerate now ahead of the low so that it does not pass right across his route.

                Destremau suffering from steering problems
                Everyone is speeding along towards Cape Leeuwin in excellent weather conditions allowing them to lap up the miles. Everyone that is except for Sébastien Destremau, who continues to suffer from problems with his steering and autopilot, causing his boat to broach without warning and stepping up the stress levels for the skipper from Toulon. “You could say that the end is nigh and I don’t have many other options than to sail Merci to the nearest port... But having said that, you never know when you’re in for a pleasant surprise,” explained Sébastien this morning. The skipper is not clear about whether he wants to continue or not or whether he could carry out repairs under shelter in Australia. His route northwards should protect him in any case from the worst of the Southern Ocean with a new low expected to offer stormy conditions around the Kerguelens on Thursday.




                TRACKER
                " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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                • #68
                  The Pressure Is High




                  Dalin. High Pressure = High Stress, Costa’s Perfect 40th Birthday Present Passing Cape Leeuwin Tonight. Hare Happy With Second Cape

                  Leader Yannick Bestaven is being forced to play chicken with the Vendée Globe’s ice zone limit in the South Pacific as he seeks to extricate his Maître Coq first from a frustrating anticyclone which is offering unusually light to moderate breezes even though they are racing at 55 degrees south.
                  Bestaven, who has seen his margin eroded to 84 miles by Figaro one design ace Charlie Dalin while Thomas Ruyant is also about 80 miles behind.

                  The problem all three leaders face is that the centre of the system is moving east at more or less the same speed as they are. But if Bestaven can wriggle clear and his pursuers remain snared then the leader could hit the jackpot, gaining an advance of many hundreds of miles. Bestaven took himself to within 3.4 nautical of the virtual line today before he gybed back north-eastwards, all the time trying to stay as far south as he could where the winds are strongest.


                  TRACKER



                  Charlie Dalin, in second, admitted that the stress of the scenario was keeping him awake during a phase he really needs to be maximising his rest. Speaking on the Vendée Globe English Live show today, in the dark during the Southern Pacific Ocean night, Dalin said,
                  “I am under a high level of pressure because my 90 miles deficit to Maitre Coq could transform into 1000 miles if I cannot manage to outrace this high pressure. I am under a lot of stress, trying to sail as hard as I can to be able to stay east of this high pressure centre, which will travel towards us in the next couple of days. It is really stressful because I know that if I don’t manage I could end up in a different system to Yannick and lose a lot of ground.”




                  He affirms, “The weather we have in the Pacific is weird, I feel like I am more sailing a Figaro leg than the Vendée Globe. It is full on racing at the moment. I have got as many square metres of sail up that I can have up. It is really weird. Before the start of the race I was not expecting to be sailing like this at 55 degrees south.”
                  “It Is always easier to sleep at night and so I should be asleep right now. But it is keeping me awake. It is hard to find the balance in the long term because when the wind starts to get light then I know I will have to be in top shape. So it is not an easy compromise to find between getting some rest and trimming the boat to be as fast as possible.”





                  Arriving later towards the centre of the high, the second wave are led by Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) and right now are watching closely to see if the three leaders can get out of the system. “We are the hunters for sure right now. Our question is whether they will escape or we all end up in the same system.

                  It is the first six skippers, Bestaven, Dalin, Ruyant, Herrmann, Le Cam and rookie Benjamin Dutreux who are most affected by this area of weak and erratic wind. Behind them the systems are aligning to offer a significant catch up in a strong north westerly flow






                  "There will be a regrouping they will come back strong from behind, it is a little annoying but it is all part of the game" noted n Dutreux.
                  Groupe Apicil’s Damien Seguin is fighting hard to make the best of any possible comeback: “I have the opportunity to come back. I am ready to fight. I'm waiting for the right time.”

                  After his stop at Macquarie Island Louis Burton is in fighting spirits, ready to press as hard as he can to regain lost miles. Having been up to second in the South Indian Ocean before his damage, the skipper from Saint Malo is focused on giving his all in pursuit of the top five finish which was his pre-start target.






                  And the best in the South Pacific had been consistently Armel Tripon on L’Occitane in Provence. He posted the best average speed of the fleet today: 446 miles 24 hours compared to just 257 for Thomas Ruyant. “Numbers speak louder than words.” Tripon wrote this morning after entering the South Pacific: “To my right, Antarctica, an immense continent that I dream of seeing up close one day, and in front of me, far, very far, Cape Horn! Between us, a gigantic ocean and in front a whole lot of tiny boats I dream of overtaking! " One part of that dream seems sure to come true.

                  Spain’s Didac Costa: The passage of Cape Leeuwin as his 40th Birthday Present
                  The Barcelona firefighter who is currently in 19th position celebrated his 40th birthday today asn should cross Cape Leeuwin before midnight on the ex-Kingfisher of Ellen MacArthur with whom she won the Route du Rhum 2002. Didac, who raced his 2016-17 race largely on his own under Australia fighting mainsail and technical issues is fighting in a of 5 IMOCAs in a match which is as exciting as at the top of the fleet. He is tussling all the time with the British skipper Pip Hare, Stéphane Le Diraison, Manu Cousin and Arnaud Boissières who is the the leader of the small posse.
                  " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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                  • #69
                    Moseying Along In The Placid Pacific



                    Compared with the last two editions of the Vendée Globe which, by Day 45, had both been distilled down to high octane drag race sprints across the Pacific to Cape Horn, at the front this ninth edition is increasingly becoming an exacting game of strategy and patience.

                    For the top ten right now rather than spearing eastwards to Point Nemo, the most remote spot on the course which right now is still over 1000 miles to the east, the sport is more reminiscent of an inshore race in the Mediterranean in benign, fickle breezes, fighting with the track of a voracious zone of light winds,

                    Not only is this edition not going to break any speed records, so slow was second placed Charlie Dalin moving at one point in the last 24 hours that he noted that he joked he would back in Les Sables d’Olonne in July or August.

                    Leader Yannick Bestaven is threatening to escape from the dominant high pressure and second placed Charlie Dalin and third placed Thomas Ruyant, close to the centre of the high pressure are powerless to stop him.








                    Weather strategy expert, two times winner of La Solitaire du Figaro Yoann Richomme explained today on the English Live show,




                    “ There is going to a be a break. Yannick is in front of the system and the others are behind. It is a like a wall which is slowly moving so that entire group for me from V and B La Mayenne to Charlie Dalin is gonna be pretty closed up with eight or nine boats within a hundred miles or so of each other by this weekend. Yannick has another low pressure coming down this Saturday and it depends how strong and how it is positioned but right now I see him getting a nice 200 or 300 miles lead.”


                    And the second group is compressing too, running into the buffer zone of light winds on the west of the high. Boris Herrmann in fourth is under threat from boats on both sides of him.

                    Benjamin Dutreux is up to fifth place albeit only seven miles ahead of Jean Le Cam on the water. But he is on the hunt for fourth placed Herrmann, the two on a converging course this evening in light winds, making five to seven knots only.

                    Le Cam and Dutreux are both sailing very similar Farr designed 2007-8 generation boats.

                    The 30 year old Vendée sailor Dutreux is sailing an incredibly accomplished race. He was born in the north of France – the French sailors’ strict demarcation making him a ‘Chti’ like second placed Dalin from Le Havre and third placed Ruyant from Dunkirk. But his grandmother had a house on the Ile de Yeu where he spent all his time each summer sailing. He joined the Ile de Yeu club at eight before graduating to the local mainland club.






                    TRACKER


                    He was on the French youth team at 16 and won national, European and world titles before he was 18. After college he became a sailmaker for three years and in his 20s joined the Vendée Formation Figaro training group going on to finish fifth overall in 2018.
                    Dutreux’s boat was previously Kojiro Shiraishi’s Spirit of Yukoh which Dutreux brought from Japan. While Le Cam’s Yes We Cam has already won as Michel Desjoyeaux’s Foncia in 2008, Dutreux’s was on the podium on the 2012 race as Alex Thomson’s Hugo Boss.
                    He and his brother have a boat renovation and repair yard in Les Sables d’Olonne where he is very popular for his very down to earth, friendly demeanour. His best IMOCA result to date was 19th in the Transat Jacques Vabre.

                    Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil) and Isabelle Joschke (MACSF) are racing almost in sight of each other – four miles apart – in seventh and eighth.




                    “I have Damien not far away but can’t see him or pick him up on the AIS. There are conditions that are more favourable at times for my boat and at others for his. Now it is great to have caught up with him when he was quite long way ahead, but he has also had a few issues to deal with, either way it is nice to have caught up. I have felt a lot better in the Pacific, better than in the Indian and I am more confident and less scared. There are things that you are naturally scared of, but which you overcome, and it is wonderful to have the chance to make the most of it and enjoy it now. I am loving the Pacific; it is just the opposite of the Indian. We will have to see what conditions are like at Cape Horn.”
                    She adds, “I am enjoying eating well and doing a bit of cooking, when the conditions are good of course. We have light conditions, and we are sailing with stunning conditions, under the moon and with very short nights. I am sailing to the South West of an anticyclone and will be into it and so it should get a lot lighter which means that those ahead will slow down and those behind will continue to catch up until they too get the lighter airs. I will have to see how I negotiate it and it is not going to be too easy because it will be very light.”
                    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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                    • #70
                      Boxing Day Updates From The Vendee Globe




                      Article
                      Like a sci-fi monster which constantly evolves and won’t lie down and die, the high pressure system which has blocked the path of the Vendée Globe leaders since they were south of New Zealand, is not giving up the top ten solo skippers and releasing them to accelerate east towards Point Nemo and onwards to Cape Horn.

                      Speeds remain modest, no more than 12 knots for any of the top third of the fleet. And in particular the second group of seven skippers is still only making six to eight knots because the anticyclone has ridged to the north east and south west, drawing an even more impenetrable barrier of calm.

                      While Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) has a lead of less than 30 miles on second placed Charlie Dalin (APIVIA) the vanguard of the second group is formed by Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) and Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) who are still less than one mile apart. The enforced slowdown means that Maxime Sorel (V and B - Mayenne) has not only been able to reconnect but, having made up more than 250 miles since just before Christmas, he is up to seventh and could be very much in the match for the final ascent up the Atlantic from early January. And Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) who restarted from Macquarie Island with a deficit of 890 miles on the leader is now 394 miles behind Bestaven and 50 miles from Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) who is ninth.






                      TRACKER



                      Second placed Dalin looked – predictably - slightly jaded today as he responded to questions in the middle of the southern hemisphere night, on the midday French show today.

                      “After a few days of taking advantage of smooth seas and sailing downwind in VMG mode, now I’m upwind on rather choppy seas… I am getting used to the boat slamming again. I am heading once again for the Ice Zone that I should reach in around 24 hours. I’m pushing the boat as best I can, but the wind is fairly unstable in strength and direction. That has been quite normal in the Southern Ocean recently, so I’m getting used to that.”

                      Talking of his precise strategy Dalin explained “ I had the option of letting the high pass by or taking a route via the north. The day I took the decision to gybe to head back down to the Ice Zone, there was still a slight chance that I would escape from it, and if things didn’t work out, I would only lose thirty miles or so. That was the logical solution. A matter of hoping rather than giving up. I realised that there was always more wind than shown on the charts and knew that would apply to my option. That enabled me to sail fairly fast ahead of the high pressure system. Of course, it was a bit stressful when the wind eased off, as I kept thinking the high had caught me. But there were times when the breeze was fairly strong and that allowed me to make good progress.”!

                      “It didn’t matter what Yannick (Bestaven) or the others did. I was racing against the weather system. Yannick has now moved off to an interesting position to get by the Antarctic Exclusion Zone that I don’t have. In terms of positioning, he has a slight advantage, but his wind direction is slightly more unfavourable. In the end, he will do better."

                      Hydraulic ram issues, such as he had before, are threating the race of Alan Roura. The youngest skipper in the race, Roura, 27, lost all his hydraulic oil when a valve failed on November 28th. This afternoon his team report he is facing a new issue and one of the rams has failed. He has blocked the keel but cannot cant it to any useful effect. He is said to be discussing solutions and possibilities with his team from his position 550 miles SW of South Island, New Zealand. Roura now has Pip Hare and Arnaud Boissières just 160 miles behind. That the British solo racer is so close to him on the boat he sailed last time will not be adding to Roura’s morale on a race which has so far been mostly frustrating for him.

                      *************************





                      Alan Roura informed his team this Saturday morning, December 26, that he was again the victim of an oil leak from one of the two hydraulic cylinders of his sailboat. Unable to get this keel tilting system to work again, essential to La Fabrique's competitiveness , the Swiss skipper analyzes the situation with his team in order to make the appropriate decisions for the second part of his solo round-the-world tour. .

                      He had celebrated Christmas at the same time as his entry into the Pacific Ocean, the virtual mark of the mid-point of the Vendée Globe, by crossing the longitude of the South Cape of Tasmania on Friday morning, December 25 (French time). Barely 24 hours later, Alan Roura complained about a new problem with La Fabrique's keel jacks . It was after a jibe in 30 knots of wind that one of the hydraulic system hoses dropped, at the end of the keel, the appendix then falling suddenly downwind.

                      This is the second time that the Swiss sailor has found himself confronted with this kind of problem, after a first leak and the change of said hose on November 28.

                      Alan has already stabilized the situation by managing to block the keel in its axis, thus severely affecting the performance of his boat, but ensuring her safety on board. In close consultation with his technical team in order to identify any collateral damage and the causes of this new breakage, the 27-year-old Genevan will have to determine the possibility, or not, of remedying this damage and of continuing his race.

                      Source: La Fabrique


                      ****************************

                      Still racing upwind but having changed on to the ‘making’ port tack – the angle taking them closer to the mark than away from it – Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) is back in the lead but only by a small handful of miles over Charlie Dalin (APIVIA).

                      The seven strong peloton are now compacted into a postage stamp area some 50 by 70 nautical miles but are once again bumped into the light winds of the high pressure barrier, they are all making much less than ten knots.

                      The significant movers over the course of the last night and yesterday are the ‘comeback kids’ Jérémie Beyou (Charal) now making continued inroads at good speeds, averaging over 20kts for much of the time and so now up to 18th place passing Didac Costa (OnePlanet-One Ocean) and Stéphan Le Diraison (Time for Oceans). And Armel Tripon (L’Occitaine en Provence) has passed Roman Attanasio (Pure-Best Western) to take over 13th place. They are feeling the effects of a new high pressure system which is slowing them.




                      The slow down for the peloton, the group led by Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) and Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) has been good for Maxime Sorel (V and B Mayenne) and especially for Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) who have made miles back in the group, Burton more than 250 miles over four days.

                      Alan Roura (La Fabrique) in 15th is more than 300 miles ahead of Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle) and Pip Hare (Medallia): the start of the Pacific is quite good for them although they have this depression chasing them. At the moment three solo sailors (Beyou-Le Diraison-Costa) are in the system in thirty knots as they leave the Indian Ocean. Manu Cousin (Groupe Sétin) has preferred to sail much further north.











                      From the morning calls at 0400hrs UTC

                      Boris Herrmann (SeaExploerer-Yacht Club de Monaco): “ I got pretty fed up with the eating out of a plastic bag adding hot water and eating with a spoon, so there is no sensation to the process of having a meal and so I started having a routine of having a meal now where I start by cutting a little piece of cheese into smaller pieces and some sausage just to have some manual sensation to taste what I eat a bit more and so something with my hand. That keeps me motivated to eat. And so that keeps some of the joy of eating.

                      We will be getting a bit more back to normal. This is unusual to have a couple of days of very light winds, or no wind. Once we are done with this in about one day it goes back to normal and we are dealing with stronger breeze, fronts, wind between 20 and 30 knots instead of between three and eight knots.

                      I think the next couple of days can be quite good. The conditions for me for foiling are when the wind is wider than 65 degrees 70 degrees TWA and stronger than 12 knots and when we are VMG running and with the wind straight from behind I am not faster than Jean Le Cam or any of these kind of competitors here around me.”




                      Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) “It is quite windy, 28-35 knots, I am reaching along the top of the forbidden Australian zone and I have another 180 miles to go before I can start going south east should I choose to do so. I think I have passed Cape Leeuwin which is pretty good. It is going to be fast. Earlier this morning I had up to 43 knots which is less amusing and last night the wind was what I call ‘mad wind’ really badly organised from 12-25 knots, big shifts and when it is like that it is hard to know what direction to point the boat in. It is steady over 30kts. I had a Christmas dinner made by a company called ActiveEat they made it for me and for Sam Davies and it was delicious, Turkey, stuffing, greens, potatoes, parsnips and some Brussels sprouts and I shared it virtually with Sam Davies on WhatsApp which was rather nice. It was really nice, classic Christmas Dinner and then my mother’s classic Christmas Cake. It was a nice Christmas. And a lovely Christmas Cake with lots of fruit in it and lots of alcohol.
                      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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                      • #71
                        The Christmas Truce Comes To An Abrupt End

                        On the Vendée Globe front line the Christmas truce is over. Days of light winds and mild temperatures have been summarily replaced by 30-35 knot winds. Deep reefed sails are the order of the day. It is cold, miserable and wet with freezing South Pacific water sluicing the decks. As the leading duo Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) and Charlie Dalin (Apivia) pass Point Nemo today, the loneliest point on the Southern Ocean - the Furious Fifties offer a rude reminder why they are so called.



                        TRACKER


                        From Point Nemo it is nearly 2000 miles to Cape Horn where deliverance waits. This stage, to the Horn, is about remaining prudent, preparing perfectly for the Cape and knowing the timing of the weather transitions as accurately as possible.

                        “There is so much contrast with yesterday I almost cannot remember how it was, I cannot remember yesterday it seems.” Said seventh placed Boris Herrmann wistfully today. “Now we are back to a normal Southern Ocean ambience sailing at 17 knots in 30kts of breeze. We are dealing with a low pressure system and the contrast is just amazing.”

                        On his 50th day at sea the German skipper, who stands a fighting chance of being the first ‘Cape Horner’ (he has been round three times) among a group of first timers at the Cape next weekend mused, “It takes a strong mind to take it all, you are always being thrown into new situations. Better not to think about it too much. Sometimes I think I think too much about the boat. If could let go a bit more I could sail a bit faster…. but looking up I am anxious all the time. In the bunk I am sleeping only 15 minutes. Maybe I should just let it go, and go faster.”





                        He continues, “But I want to reach Cape Horn in one piece. I have a boat at 100% and very few of the others can say that. So let us get through the week without losing too many miles, but certainly without breaking anything.”

                        Mike Golding, four times Vendée Globe racer, says this is one of the toughest parts of the course mentally, “But it is essential to keep doing what they have been doing, getting through each day, one day at a time, without pushing too hard, just staying in the rhythm and looking after the boat. The sense of anticipation grows and grows for those who have not been round the Horn before but there is so much can be gained and lost just after, it is important to be there in the best shape mentally and physically.”

                        Golding adds, “In fact if there is a little more compression, as we might expect, then anyone in this main group can be on the podium in Les Sables d’Olonne. It is that open. Right now I am impressed by Boris and his approach and especially by Isabelle Joschke who has really come into her own. Like Boris she has a largely unbroken boat, she’s in the play. And don’t discount Jean Le Cam. He is ‘steady Eddie’, you never hear of his problems because whatever he deals with, he just gets on with..”









                        Joschke in fifth is still struggling with the cold, which she does not like at all, and like Herrmann is taking time to re-adjust to the rude return to fast, wet and hard sailing, “Last night it was really slamming and crashing, I even got seasick again because I was not used to the movement again.” Heavily fatigued Joschke was trying to grab some rest before adding more sail area to her charge.

                        Rest was high on the agenda too for Benjamin Dutreux. The tenth placed 30 year old Vendée skipper of OMIA-Water Family has climbed the mast of his IMOCA to release his J2 headsail which had split near the top. The climb was extremely tough, after he reported that he was’ thrown around like a rag doll being smashed between the sail and the mast’.

                        “And now I have to repair the sail and a few other things, so it is not good for my morale, really.” Dutreux told the French Vendée Globe live show today, his face wracked with fatigue and stress.

                        Leader Yannick Bestaven was not short of wind - were he in need of any more puff to blow out his 48 candles on his birthday. He had 40 knots of wind at times in front of the depression though with crossed seas which made progress less than comfortable. But the Vendée Globe leader for 12 days has opened more than 50 miles on second placed Charlie Dalin over the last 24 hours. Maître Coq’s lead is now 133 miles over APIVIA which has been closer to the centre of the depression. Thomas Ruyant is third on LinkedOut, now 150 miles behind Dalin and 31 miles behind Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil) who has consistently been the quickest of the top 10 today.







                        Message from Miranda Merron (Campagne de France).

                        "Yesterday I discovered with some amazement that I have passed the half way point in the race. I didn't know where the half way point was, and I don't have the computer-calculated information that is on the website (no internet access here), but I assumed it was somewhere still far ahead. It is just wonderful to be sailing towards home, loved ones and friends at last, rather than away from them. We (the boat and I) are still in the Indian Ocean, and it hasn't finished with us yet. I am sailing on an unfavourable gybe to the northeast to get out of the way of the worst of a low pressure system. The sea is disorganised and the boat is slewing sideways down waves. There is still a very long way to go!

                        It seems like a long time ago since the start of the Indian Ocean and the first proper heavy weather. There have been other windy and rough periods since, but none were as quite as frightening as the first one which was a very convincing display of the superiority of mother nature, and conversely how small, inconsequential and vulnerable we are, especially in places like this. There have been light airs from time to time too, useful for inspecting and fixing things. There are always things to do. It hasn't been as foggy and grey as last time. Other than ending up less than 2 miles from Alexia in light airs before one of our windy episodes, I haven't seen another vessel since somewhere near Tristan da Cunha. The bird life is impressive, and I wish I hadn't forgotten my bird book. It is always uplifting to have an albatross, or indeed any bird, follow the boat."








                        At just under 2000 miles to Cape Horn, the leaders of the Vendée Globe have a long, tough week of work ahead to reach the big left turn, the release out of the Pacific back into the home ocean. There is some relief that speeds are quick again as their position on the depression finally yields reaching conditions, cold SW’lies for the chasing peloton, NW’ly for Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) and Charlie Dalin (Apivia).

                        And while there were predictions that Bestaven might run away from his pursuers, Dalin is less than 90 miles – or about six hours – behind.
                        The pack is still tightly grouped but Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil) is up to fourth and Isabelle Joschke (MACSF) fifth, Seguin is fastest of the top 10 this morning. Although it is cold and wet skippers’ energy reserves are restored for the meantime after the lighter wind period over Christmas.
                        This depression should roll away by Tuesday when there might be a little period of respite before the long assault on the eastern Pacific when conditions look challenging for the latter part of the week. It still looks like Saturday 2nd January for the leading duo at the Cape. And with the new systems coming in from behind there should be more compression among the top ten or 12 boats, maybe even a chance for Cremer, Tripon and Attanasio to close in to the pack a little more.

                        All the way back to Cape Leeuwin (or more for Sébastien Destremau, who is still on a course towards Tasmania), the fleet also seems to be compressing under the influence of the southern depressions. Finland’s Ari Huusela (STARK) should thus cross the longitude of Leeuwin today 200 miles behind Alexia Barrier (TSE-4myplanet) who passed Leeuwin at 23:48 am UTC Sunday night having had some repairs to make over the weekend last before tackling the end of the Indian Ocean that Manuel Cousin (Groupe Sétin) and Kojiro Shiraishi (DMG MORI Global One) should emerge out of late today.

                        Already in the Pacific: Jérémie Beyou (Charal) and Stéphane Le Diraison (Time for Oceans) have the start of a nasty low coming down from Tasmania. On the contrary, in front of this front, Pip Hare (Medallia) and Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle) have caught close to Alan Roura (La Fabrique) who has his keel problems three days ago.

                        And so it looks like the waters of the south of South Americaa will be scattered with Vendée Globe racers in an unprecedented climb back up the Atlantic.
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                        • #72
                          Storm's A Brewin!






                          In the strong, following W’ly wind and with the leading duo electing to stay north slightly – around 50 deg– the top of the fleet have compacted slightly more. Charlie Dalin (Apivia) – who slowed yesterday to consolidate his foil box repairs yesterday – has caught back some 40 miles on Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) and Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) has returned more than 120 miles on Bestaven to be 202 nautical miles behind Bestaven.

                          As Cape Horn beckons this weekend it is as well Race Direction has opened the race area more by moving the ice barrier south in this area as there will be significant race traffic!

                          Fortunately for this lead group they will be into a new NW’ly flow today from a system which will take them east to exit the Pacific. Overnight Bestaven was not particularly fast and Damien Seguin (APICIL Group) is now close to Ruyant.




                          Those who had to gybe north to avoid the AEZ did not make as much, Maxime Sorel (V and B-Mayenne) and Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2), but from Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian Group) up the second group are only one short day’s racing behind the top duo. And with the new depression arriving from behind the trio Attanasio, Cremer and Burton should catch up more.

                          Passed under New Zealand at 56 ° South there is the trio of the young Swiss Alan Roura (La Fabrique) now close to Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline-Artisans Artipôle) and Pip Hare (Medallia) racing along the AEZ. On the southern edge of a high pressure area, they can all lengthen their stride in a moderate NW’ly flow.

                          Good news from Stéphane Le Diraison (Time for Oceans) who had planned to sail to Macquarie Island to sort his mainsail track problems. He finally found a solution with the support of his shore team. He is back in race mode chasing the quick Jérémie Beyou (Charal) who emerged from the Tasmanian depression very well and can now press fast down from the AEZ. Alexia Barrier (TSE-4myplanet) has also picked up her pace after a fright when her backstay (which supports the mast from the back) block exploded! She was able to repair before passing Cape Leeuwin where Finnish racer Ari Huusela (STARK) also crossed last night.












                          Right now the initiative is with the hunters and many have the chance to make miles and de-stabilise the status quo. The weather situation around the Falklands islands does not look very stable at all for the early New Year and so there could yet be come very close finishes in Les Sables d’Olonne.

                          Charlie Dalin, APIVIA, this morning..."When you look at the globe and we look towards the Pacific side you only see blue. So Point Nemo the most isolated place on Earth feels like it looks. Here we realize the size of this Pacific Ocean! It is something to be here in this lonely corner. Currently I am 261 miles from Nemo point but I was even closer a few hours ago at the time of my gybe. But I hope that NASA are not planning to drop a satellite here to dispose of it. It would be a pity to be knocked out by space debris here!

                          I had a little setback: I had a problem with my foil bearing which I had I repaired. I spent a little time fixing it up a bit more. I slowed down a bit before resuming my speed. And I have less than 24 hours left on starboard tack, which is pretty good news because I will be able to aim for Cape Horn on the other tack. In addition, the wind was easing a bit from behind. The situation is under control now.

                          Right now, we have more like 25-30 knots of westerly wind and I'm currently in a lighter phase of 25 knots. There is still a good wind. However, the seas are big, the heaviest I have seen since the start. It's a beautiful Southern Ocean seaway like you see in the books. My port tack was difficult. I had a few broaches and got hit by breaking waves! It was very windy and it was pretty rough. I was never shaken up like this before in other lows. The sea was much bigger than usual. Fortunately, things eased a little later: now, I'm on starboard tack, heading for the AEZ. But the sea is going to get bigger as I move south.

                          I should be caught up by a front coming from the West: it should reach me tomorrow on December 30 and potentially carry me to Cape Horn in medium northwest. Night is falling (5.30am French time), and there is a beautiful light with squalls and heavy seas: it's super beautiful! And then, at night, it is not completely dark: there is a moon even if we cannot see it too much, given the cloud cover. It's nice for setting the sails and maneuvering: I don't need a head torch.”





                          TRACKER


                          A nasty low pressure system is converging with the Vendée Globe leader Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) and could require him to slow significantly to avoid winds in excess of 40kts and big seas.

                          But Bestaven is under pressure from behind too as the peloton of nine are compressing, closing mileage and pushing hard. Damien Seguin, multiple Paralympic champion is sailing immaculately and is up to third, increasingly taking the race to Dalin who is now less than 70 miles ahead. The chasing group have closed more than 150 miles in recent days. Leader Bestaven is expected at Cape Horn on Saturday.

                          It would be a dream
                          Seguin is up to third on his Groupe Apicil, the best position yet for the Paralympic champion sailor who has never considered that having no left hand has ever compromised his ability to be competitive in any racing fleet. His accurate, precise routing, gybing down the Antarctic Exclusion barrier has placed him inside Thomas Ruyant, nearly nine miles ahead of the solo skipper of LinkedOut. And in terms of direct distance on the water Seguin is less than 40 miles from Charlie Dalin (Apivia).

                          His years of Paralympic medal winning rigour and discipline are complemented by an excellent all round ability. At 12 he was fascinated by meteorology. He has been top level competitive in the short, sharp inshore sprints of the Diam24 Tour Voile, long distance in the Class 40 and in the Figaro class.
                          He modified and prepped his Finot Conq design in Jean Le Cam’s boatyard, advised and mentored by Le Cam himself. Incidentally his seat on his IMOCA – retrieved from a dusty corner at Le Cam’s – is off the 2008 Vendée Globe winning Foncia.




                          A tired, but extremely focused Seguin said today. “Here I am, dreaming of being in the top 5 at Cape Horn! That would be crazy! But it’s what I'm really going to try to do. I still need about seven days to get there. It will be by Sunday or Monday I think. But this last week before Cape Horn is going to be tough. The models all see different things. We'll see...I am managing to rest but it's not always easy to eat. I've been eating a lot of cold food lately, but I have just had a hot meal. The last few days in the light wind zone have been complicated. It was very unstable, and I found it particularly difficult to rest. I came out of it exhausted. And after that I attacked the transition, and I had to do it quickly. The boat was pounding against the sea a lot! It was really difficult. I can’t say for now whether it’s been the most difficult part of this Vendée Globe. The Indian was also difficult because I had a lot of technical problems. But here, it’s more the sailing conditions that have been complex.”

                          Seguin suggests, “People have been saying that the foilers are going to accelerate, and it might well be on this climb up the Atlantic. We'll see... In any case, at Cape Horn it won't be over. We know that this particular ascent has often been full of surprises. But for the moment, I'm focusing on this mythical Cape!"

                          Young shared dreams
                          One thing the second and third placed skippers, Dalin and Seguin, share in common is that their youthful dreams of racing the world’s oceans. Their young minds were seeded when they were very little, each seeing the stars of the solo and short handed racing and their fantastic machines up close and personal – a few years apart - in the respective backyards of their childhood.

                          For Dalin, 35, that was hanging round the Transat Jacques Vabre docks after school in his native Le Havre. Seguin, 41, grew up in Guadeloupe where he saw his heroes of the time winning the Route du Rhum solo Transatlantic race.

                          Seguin told the Vendée Globe website before the start, “When we moved to Guadeloupe we went to the finish of the Route du Rhum in 1990. I didn't know anything about it but everyone was talking about it. It was a revelation. I remember these giant boats, the great sailors who were being asked for autographs. Florence Arthaud, Mike Birch, Alain Gautier, Laurent Bourgnon they were like rock stars. I wanted to do that very same thing, to follow in their wake. My initial project was to do the Route du Rhum. In 1998, I had a difficult choice to make: either I embarked on a Mini project or I started an Olympic programme. Pushed a bit by the National Sailing School I chose the second option, as I knew it was going to be good structure and foundations to get move into ocean racing. Then after four Olympics, it was the right time to change direction first in the Figaro, then into IMOCA."

                          And Dalin recalled pre-start, “And at home on Le Havre every two years I would find myself always in among the Transat Jacques Vabre boats, dreaming. I went to admire the racing machines at the start, then I followed the race through the radio, the newspapers. And of course through sailing magazines. That’s how I discovered the Mini Transat in Voiles & Voiliers. I spent hours looking at the smallest details in the photos. I remember a double page spread from Seb Magnen's boat which won the Mini twice in a row. I don't know how many hours I looked at this picture imagining myself in its place.”

                          A common stepping stone.
                          The more modestly priced, but highly competitive Class 40 has proven a stepping stone on the pathway to the IMOCA and to this Vendée Globe. Six years ago in Guadeloupe the Route du Rhum Class 40 was won the Spanish sailor Alex Pella but the class was populated by many of today’s Vendée Globe racers notably Stéphane Le Diraison who finished fourth, Miranda Merron was sixth, Yannick Bestaven, seventh, Damien Seguin eighth, Fabrice Amedeo ninth, Giancarlo Pedote was 10th. Also racing were Maxime Sorel, Alan Roura, Arnaud Boissières and Nicolas Troussel
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                          • #73
                            The Vendee Participants Say Goodbye to 2020




                            After more than one month in the Southern Ocean, now at under 800 miles to Cape Horn for Charlie Dalin (Apivia) who is 133 miles behind leader Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq), it is increasingly likely that the leading pair will round Cape Horn, the mythical rock within hours of each other between Saturday night and Sunday.

                            Equal credit is due to both Vendée Globe skippers who have pressed hard and fast over the last 24 hours to stay ahead of a fast-moving low pressure system. While their nearest rivals – a chasing pack of nine – are now on the other side of the depression and so the pair are banking some big gains as they continue to profit from the fast ride towards Cape Horn.




                            Both Dalin and Bestaven have been on the edge for some hours, averaging over 20 knots at times and made 24 hour runs close to 500 miles. Behind them the pack have been engulfed by the centre of the low or a cell of high pressure which has left them with much lighter winds.

                            It would be a dream situation for the duo for the first days of 2021 were it not that they will have a very tough rounding of the Cape - the first for both of them - with winds of 40-45kts and seas expected to be up to seven metres.



                            TRACKER

                            And in this case the best form of defence is attack. Going fast with the system opens more options for both as they monitor the evolution and the passage of the low pressure system arriving from the north west, set to brush the west coast of Chile and impact on the leaders just at Cape Horn. With torrential rain squalls expected and big seas there is unlikely to be any time or opportunities for the first time Cape Horners to enjoy the moment.

                            "I have been surfing at 30 knots," said Dalin today, sporting a black eye after slamming his head into the companionway when his IMOCA ploughed into a wave and slowed suddenly. He is 150 miles to the north of Bestaven, “We have had to push not to get caught up It would be good to be have just the one tack pass Cape Horn as the routing suggests and I think I am due to go past at night, but hopefully I do not have to slow down too much because the winds forecast around the Horn are due to be really strong. We will have to see when the timings are a bit clearer. I would love to see the famous rock but am certainly not going to do a detour to catch a glimpse if I can’t see it!”










                            Dalin, speaking on the French show today added, “I am trying to not go too fast, but yesterday I had to speed it up, it was important because Thomas, Damien and everyone have been caught up by a front and I am chasing on one so needed to keep up the pace and put my foot down on the pedal to keep ahead. The front should not catch me up if all goes to plan; the lighter breeze is behind me, but thankfully my foiling IMOCA allows me to go fast in certain conditions. You tend to nosedive a bit because you have the swell from behind. By having been able to keep ahead of the font I have managed to stay with a more north, north-westerly and stronger breeze than Thomas (Ruyant) for example).”

                            Damien Seguin is back up to third on Groupe Apicil now over 85 miles ahead of Ruyant who has continued to stay north. The LinkedOut skipper has been enjoying good conditions to accelerate on the edge of the large secondary depression which will soon overtake him and leave him scrapping with the second group.

                            From third placed Seguin to Italian Giancarlo Pedote in 11th the New Year will hardly be noticed, no champagne and streamers are likely. Trapped in a bubble of light unstable airs everyone tries to find the best way out and to set up for their next system: Bemjamin Dutreux, Boris Herrmann, Jean Le Cam, Isabelle Joschke and Max Sorel gybing close to the ice barrier; Burton and Pedote routing..



                            An evening almost like any other

                            If New Year’s Eve is marked then it will be notionally. A welcome special dinner, perhaps a small sip of wine and WhatsApp with home or with friends to mark the transition to 2021.

                            “ New Year is like any other day when you are on the race.” Remarked 2016-2017 race winner Armel Le Cléac’h on the French Live show today.

                            Observing the times and speeds relative to his 74 days record on the last edition he noted








                            “ The weather has been quite unusual on this edition, particularly when you analyse the key passages, and you look at the time it has taken compared to the last edition. They are more like those of the 2004 or 2008 race for example. But the objective is not to break a record, although everyone discusses on the pontoons it before the start. It is above all a race and we have here a beautiful one that is full of suspense because we have nearly ten boats who are going to be racing side by side up the Atlantic.”

                            He concluded, “Despite it being tough, hard, long and cold, you can see that the sailors are really enjoying being at sea. It is the first time I have followed it so closely from shore.”

                            And on the day Britain moves out of Europe Pip Hare overhauled her French rival Arnaud Bossières to lie in 16th place, just 46 miles behind Switzerland’s Alan Roura (La Fabrique) who raced Hare’s IMOCA on the last race but has upgraded to a foil assisted IMOCA for his second Vendée Globe.
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                            • #74
                              Cape Horn Beckons

                              This first day of 2021, the numbers tell the story. At just over 600 miles to Cap Horn this morning the two leaders Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq IV) and Charlie Dalin (Apivia) have just completed 24 hour runs of 452 and 417 nautical miles respectively. Only third placed Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) has come close with 375 miles. All of the chasing group have made less than 300 after their tussle with lighter winds yesterday. That means Bestaven and Dalin have the biggest lead over third since the start.




                              TRACKER

                              Dogged, determined Dalin is very much in touch and has never conceded a mile lightly to his rival and on the early morning ranking Apivia is quicker than Maître Coq IV. The duo have managed to stay in the powerful N to NW’ly flow but the chasing peloton did not. And it must have been frustrating to have been stuck in a relatively windless bubble when to the north and east it is blowing over 30 knots. And with the wind having moved from NW to S to SW swells will be big and confused in places for this group.

                              The leaders are in on the front of a Southern Ocean depression which approaches the Chilean coast, ready to hit the mountains of Tierra del Fuego. Only Yannick Bestaven and Dalin are be able to take advantage of it on its eastern side. They will see more than 40 knots but at 120 ° to the wind, they will rein in their IMOCAs to account for the mountainous boat breaking seas which are likely on the approach to Cape Horn.

                              Routings suggest Dalin will line up behind Bestaven on the approach to Cape Horn on Saturday evening (European time) and be only a few hours apart at the Cape. Meantim Thomas Ruyant in third is jousting with the centre of the low and will have to dive SE in an easing, dropping breeze which will shift all the way to the S.

                              He should cross comfortably in front of Damien Seguin (APICIL Group) who has done well to gain nearly a hundred miles over Boris Herrmann, Benjamin Dutreux, Jean Le Cam and Isabelle Joschke. As the climb away from the Antarctic Exclusion Zone they will accelerated on the western side of the system. But Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) and Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian Group) are doing well in the north, already behind the system and able to go fast.

                              Further behind Clarisse Crémer, Armel Tripon and Romain Attanasio came back very strongly in this south-westerly breeze of 25 to 35 knots which should carry them all the way to Cape Horn!

                              The rest of the fleet stretches from the middle of the Pacific (Alan Roura) to the heart of the Indian (Sébastien Destremau) and all have moderate to strong breezes, bringing in 2021 in the Southern Oceans.




                              *********************************


                              For his fifth Vendée Globe and before rounding Cape Horn for the seventh time, Jean Le Cam is keeping in good spirits despite the unusual conditions there have been in the Pacific. The skipper of Yes We Cam! should be should reach Cape Horn in a similar time to that of his first one which he did (in the lead) during the 2004 solo round the world race (56 days 17 hours and 13 seconds).

                              "It's clear that we are making progress! Benjamin (Dutreux) is two miles away. And me, I have shifted a little bit to the North: if you want to sleep well, it is better to have at least a one 100 miles distance between us. I am able to be on a course that suits me well because the wind is going to turn a little to the right.

                              Each passage of Cape Horn is special, but this time there will be wind! And that's not great. Especially for those who will get have to keep up ahead, as we will have less wind. And then, it will come in from behind! You do not want to hang around there.

                              The Pacific Ocean’s state depends on the weather systems it is subjected to, but this time, we can say that the first part was calm but that it has been really very agitated afterwards. The situations were brutal with these big changes; lots of wind, then swinging from the South and then the North! It is moving around, and it is a bit annoying... Now, for example, there is no big Pacific swell.

                              Twleve hours ago, we were in total calm... Now there's a residual swell, but it's virtually nothing. The situation is not unusual. While it's 4.30 am UTC, it will get dark here soon, so it's still the 31st of December... Well, I think so! Because it changes every day... Cape Horn is in about four days. If there's a storm we will take it slow.

                              Happy New Year!”
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                              • #75
                                No Yannick Depression: Bestaven 1st To Pass Cape Horn



                                Yannick Bestaven, 48 year old French skipper of Maître CoQ IV, the leader of the Vendée Globe passed Cape Horn this Saturday afternoon 2nd January at 1342hrs UTC , passing out of the Pacific Ocean back into the Atlantic with a lead estimated to be over 160 nautical miles over second placed Charlie Dalin (Apivia).

                                Bestaven has led the race since Christmas Day. In muscular conditions – winds of more than 30kts and big seas – the skipper from La Rochelle has kept up an impressive speed for his first ever rounding of Cape Horn. He passed safely some 85 miles off the rock with an elapsed time since leaving Les Sables d'Olonne of 55 day and 22 minutes




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